Tag: Iran

Le Monde diplomatique podcast – Obama and “smart power”

World map in lightMy guest in this first Le Monde diplomatique podcast of 2010 is Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

In his article in the January edition of the paper, “US turns persuader not policeman”, Professor Klare asks whether disappointment with the first year of Obama’s foreign policy is the right reaction, or whether we ought instead to see “smart power” as a pragmatic response to the US’s diminished role as world superpower – “assertiveness in the face of decline”.

In the interview we talk about the challenge posed by Iran to US smart power and also its implications for the domestic political landscape in the US.

To listen to the interview, click here.

Books of the Decade – Roland Chambers

Roland ChmabersRoland Chambers studied film and literature in Poland and at New York University before returning to England in 1998. His first biography, The Last Englishman, won a Jerwood award from the Royal Society of Literature, and draws on his experience both as a children’s author and as a private investigator specializing in Russian politics and business. He currently divides his time between London and Connecticut.

You can hear my audio interview with Roland by clicking here.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

Oscar WaoA fat, fantasy and science fiction nerd spread-eagled between New Jersey, his grandma in the Dominican Republic, and the voodoo of dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Messiah-cum-sacrificial cow, Oscar is devastating, as is his author, Junot Diaz: brilliance on every level.

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi: PersepolisA so-called graphic novel (it’s an autobiography) which gives Iran since the Revolution through the childhood, adolescence and coming of age of Marji, author of perhaps the most influential comic since Art Spiegelman’s Maus.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

Pollan: Omnivore's DilemmaPollan shows how far we are from what we eat, how much of it either is or relies upon a single crop, how consuming that crop is like drinking petrol, and why American rednecks call their arseholes cornholes. The trick is understanding what’s for lunch.